Entrepreneurship is THE economic mode of the digital age and entrepreneurship is defined by risk. Students who will become workers must be comfortable, even engaged by, risk-taking.
Increased support for greater accountability and assessment of engineering communication programs have led many schools of engineering and technology to initiate methods of assessing the quality of their students’ engineering communication abilities. In my institution, I have spearheaded the pilot year of such a program, and, as anticipated, have learned several valuable lessons that may be of interest to others interested in developing assessment procedures for engineering communication programs.
A major challenge in engineering education is to prepare professionals for communicating well in writing and speaking, using appropriate technologies, within professional contexts. Communication in the global engineering world includes collaboration on cross-functional teams, virtual-project team management, and writing for multiple, complex audiences. This tutorial discusses how one small engineering school has integrated technical communication teaching and assessment throughout the curriculum with demonstrated success. The integrated curriculum, formative and summative assessments, and real-world contexts offer one model to address growing communication challenges.
Given the disconnections between technical communication classroom assessment and professional workplace assessment, the author suggests that technical communication programs learn from workplaces’ best practices to develop authentic classroom assessment and better prepare students for workplace performance. Authentic classroom assessment also generates meaningful student learning evidence, which can be used in outcome-based program reviews for us to reach more comprehensive and accurate assessment of programs’ education success. The article details how this integrated, two-tier framework can be carried out at both the classroom and program levels and discusses its programmatic benefits.
To help students better understand and be better prepared for professional workplaces, the author suggests that business communication teachers examine and learn from workplace assessment methods. Throughout the article, the author discusses the rationale behind this proposal, reviews relevant literature, reports interview findings on workplace assessment, and compares classroom and workplace practices to suggest areas where we can meaningfully bridge the two.
Technical communicators and academics share an interest in higher education program assessment because the quality offiture employees is at stake. If universities fail to adequately educate, on-the-job training must pick up the slack. This paper describes Michigan Tech's efforts to learn what skills their recent graduates use, and where they learned these skills.
College Writing Assessment is a website containing research and information on the evolving field of teaching of technical communication at the college level. It will include the results of our yearly assessments at New Jersey Institute of Technology, changing technical communication criteria, and our collaborations with other institutions.
The authors' goal was to model the role played by the relationship between a writing teacher and her students in the feedback and revision cycle they experienced in an English-as-a-foreign-language context. Participants included a nonnative teacher of English and 14 students enrolled in her English writing class in a Korean university. Data came from formal, informal, and text-based interviews; semester-long classroom observations; and students' drafts with teacher comments. Findings showed that caring was enacted in complex and reciprocal ways, influenced by interwoven factors from the greater society, the course, the teacher, and the student. Students' level of trust in the teacher's English ability, teaching practices, and written feedback, as much as the teacher's trust in particular students based on how they revised their drafts, played a great role in the development of a caring relationship between them.
To teach students how to write for the workplace and other professional contexts, technical writing teachers often assign writing tasks that reflect real-life communication contexts, a teaching approach that is grounded in the field's contextualized understanding of genre. This article argues to fully embrace contextualized literacy and better teach workplace writing, technical writing teachers also need to contextualize how they assess student writing. To this end, this article examines some of workplaces' best assessment practices and critically integrates them into an introductory technical writing classroom through a method called student-centered assessment instruments. This method engages students, as workplaces engage employees, in the assessment process to identify local requirements for writing tasks. Aligned with theory and practice, this method is not only an effective classroom assessment method, but becomes an integrated part of students' genre-learning process within and beyond the classroom.
Our discussion will consider the ways in which we conceptualized an engineering enterprise initiative’s 'communication component,' alternate ways in which it could be conceptualized, and our efforts to maintain pedagogical and programmatic integrity while addressing the very practical needs of this ABET-driven curricula change. We feel that these questions must be addressed if we are to truly participate in a 'systemic change' in engineering education and its integral communication challenges.
We recently conducted survey research to discover students' responses to our web-based courses and online programs. We wanted to know their reactions to the course materials, teaching methods, interactions with faculty and other students, as well as their own competence in the particular subject area following such as course. While we are discovering that students are generally satisfied with all aspects of the courses, they express valid and noteworthy concerns.
Designers today are involved in the development and design of new products and their interactions, software, virtual identities, web sites, strategic plans, wearable computers, digital libraries, games, and interactive exhibitions. The old monikers of graphic and industrial design aren't descriptive of the new fields of practice and research that are being explored today. These disciplines in fact have come to realize that they do not own the word `design.' The activity of design, as described by Simon (1969), is being practiced by a host of disciplines that include engineering, computer science, information systems, professional writing, and business. We encounter job titles such as software design, engineering design, human-computer interaction design, and systems design, to name a few. If design is so pervasive, who, then, is a designer and how is s/he educated?
The importance of oral presentations in professional environments related to Computer Science is unquestionable. Therefore, oral and writing skills are included in the set of competences to be developed by students through the application of recent academic initiatives for Computer Science degrees in an international context. This article describes activities performed at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid aimed at the development of presentation skills in students. This initiative is based on the application of learning activities in combination with the delivery of different presentations that the students themselves evaluate. Results show a significant competence improvement and very satisfactory acceptance results from the students.
Recent technological developments have provided a powerful stimulus for the production of a range of electronic materials for education. A number of products and prototypes to assist teaching and learning have been produced and educational materials have been extensively published electronically, but it is still unclear to what extent all of this is of use to students and lecturers/tutors when it comes to real teaching and learning. Looking at the example of electronic books indicates not only the main reasons why electronic materials have not completely replaced the physical counterpart, but more importantly suggests how to improve the quality of the materials and tools currently available.
The administrators of many programs, organizations, and associations often wonder if their program is functioning effectively and for the best purposes of the program's members. In this era of wireless, global communication modes and social network sites, these administrators may wonder if newer communication channels meet the needs of the members and the program. This study reports the results of a survey of a national organization of teachers of technical communication, a survey that asked the membership to report their perceptions of the effectiveness of the current communication channels and their interest in forging new, networked communication channels. The results revealed to the administrators the changing population demographic of the membership, the members' willingness and interest in using newer communication channels, and their reasons for not using other channels of communication. Ultimately, the authors argue that such reflective analysis of communication channels is healthy for the continued success of a networked program.
Program directors could use data from protocols and interviews to identify 'natural sources of resistance', and 'translation and follow-up problems'.
Currently, colleges and universities have developed assessment systems that can collect student work products for evaluation in an effort to make student learning transparent and ensure accountability in higher education. At the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, we have developed a digital portfolio system, the RosE Portfolio System (REPS), that allows for efficient data collection; the results of portfolio evaluations are used by academic departments and programs to improve curricula and provide evidence to external accrediting agencies. The results of evaluations of student performance are also used to ensure the quality of academic curricula.
To remain viable in this economy, executives and administrators must produce efficiently and hence must assure sound evaluation of training programs in technical communication. These decision-makers can benefit from the insights of professional evaluators of educational programs so as to establish goals, secure resources, review the activities, and report results. Described and then illustrated here is the CIPP-model to review the activities, that is, the contexts, input, processes, and products. Well-done evaluations lift the level of communication skills, the morale of the students and faculty, and the organization’s products.
There has been a remarkable improvement in access and rate of adoption of technology in higher education. Even so, reports indicate that faculty members are not integrating technology into instruction in ways that make a difference in student learning. To help faculty make informed decisions on student learning, there is need for current knowledge of faculty integration practices. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the nature of the relationship between faculty integration of technology into classroom instruction and students' perceptions of the effect of computer technology to improve their learning. A sample of at least 800 undergraduate students at a participating medium-sized midwest public university was selected using a stratified random sampling technique. The researcher delivered and administered the surveys to the participating students and collected them after completion. 98% of the questionnaires were complete and retained for analysis.
The placement of technical communication within an academic curriculum presents an interesting challenge for university administrators and faculty. Technical communication is a young discipline that borrows content from several older, more established disciplines. As a younger discipline, technical communication must combine its borrowed ingredients from other areas into a new and complete offering that can attract research funding for professionals in the academy and deliver job opportunities for its students preparing to enter industry. The credibility of technical communication as a new discipline is dependent on its ability to develop a cohesive body of basic and applied research, its ability to manage technological change, and its ability to promote its identity among an army of competing disciplines.
The process of revising an English Communications emphasis proceeded smoothly for the most part because of good planning by a Curriculum Committee. However, unseen pitfalls and departmental politics hindered some aspects of the experience. It will be necessary to apply lessons learned to continue the revision process and create a successful emphasis.
Discusses the potential of goal-based scenarios as an approach to designing online learning environments. Explores practical applications of goal-based scenarios for online training. Presents a procedural approach to designing a goal-based scenario.
The information that follows is the text of the web-based survey described in 'How Much is Enough? The Assessment of Student Work in Technical Communication Courses,' TCQ Winter 2003.